The Inward Adorning of the Heart
"The inward adorning of a meek and quiet spirit is priceless. In the life of the true Christian the outward adorning is always in harmony with the inward peace and holiness. "If any man will come after Me," Christ said, "let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me." Matthew 16:24. Self-denial and sacrifice will mark the Christian's life. Evidence that the taste is converted will be seen in the dress of all who walk in the path cast up for the ransomed of the Lord." A A 523
"We are living in an age represented as being like that before the Flood. All who now plead for souls should in their dress and deportment carry the modesty and marks of the Lord Jesus. They must wait, watch, and pray for the Holy Spirit to be abundantly bestowed. We must take in the idea of Christianity; in conversation and in dress we must represent the truth. A decided guard must be placed upon the human agents in regard to the impressions they are making upon others in deportment and in dress. The Bible is our guide; study its teachings with a purpose to obey, and you need make no mistakes." DG 158
"Our dress should be in strict accordance with the character of our holy faith. [1 Timothy 2:9, 10; 1 Peter 3:3-5 quoted.] There is need of putting more of the Bible precept into the dress, as well as the inward adorning into the character." DG 158
“The work of sanctification is the work of a lifetime…” Many misunderstand these inspired words, because they have not comprehended the rest of the sentence. They assume that God will put up with their stubborn rebellion and failure to overcome year after year, because, after all, they have their entire lifetime to work on getting rid of their sins. Listen to the rest of the statement: “The work of sanctification is the work of a lifetime; it must go on continually; but this work cannot go on in the heart while the light on any part of the truth is rejected or neglected. The sanctified soul will not be content to remain in ignorance, but will desire to walk in the light and to seek for greater light.” 1 SM 317.
In other words, if we are cherishing sins and resisting the Holy Spirit's convictions, we are not even on the narrow path. “God requires the entire surrender of the heart, before justification can take place; and in order for man to retain justification, there must be continual obedience, through active, living faith that works by love and purifies the soul.” FW 100
There is no process of sanctification going on before we have made an entire surrender of our hearts to God. Going through life as a cultural Seventh-day Adventist without the conversion experience is not the lifetime work of sanctification referred to above.
The Modesty Movement addresses an issue that speaks only to the converted. It is part of the sanctification process. It can only be entered into by a converted, surrendered person, because it is a Spirit-led experience. Certainly unconverted ladies can dress modestly. But it is disastrous to endeavor to dress with Remnant Raiment if your heart is not surrendered to God. The reason is, outward modesty without God's inward adorning leads to hypocritical Phariseeism, making oneself and all those around miserable. Please don't do it! Our first work, dear sisters, is to make sure we yield the rulership of our hearts to God, making sure we are crucified with Christ. Only then will we allow God to lay our glory in the dust. Only then will we be willing to walk in the light.
The song of the surrendered soul is, “All to Jesus I surrender, All to Him I freely give!” When we turn the management of our lives over to Jesus, then the process of sanctification becomes a joyful willing surrender, an exciting faith adventure. We can earnestly say, “Lord, what do you want me to do today?” That also includes, “Lord, what would you have me wear today?”
The blessed Lord leads us on step by step, as fast as we are able to keep up. It is not for any human to dictate and schedule the rate of sanctification for another. God works with us individually. For example, some may be able to make the transition from unclean meat to a vegan diet in short order. Others may take years to grow in understanding and practice. The point is, we are not to manage the lives of others. We have enough to do in making our own decisions.
As we cling to Jesus, He gives us the ability to turn from love of the world, so that love for God motivates every decision. As we choose to surrender, the Spirit speaks to our hearts about this item of clothing, or this practice of adornment. The Holy Spirit is a faithful friend and guide. He won't just strip us of all that makes us feel beautiful as women and leave us feeling ugly and ashamed of our appearance. Oh, no! He will be busy adorning us with inward beauty and building up our confidence in Christ. We will come to know how loved and cherished we are by Jesus. Our self-worth will be based on the value He places on us. He is the lovely One; we are nothing without Him.
With our new heavenly value system, we no longer try to build our worldly self-esteem, which is based on worldly principles of appearance, achievement, possession and status in life. We no longer judge ourselves by the world's standards. We can now appear before the world without the phony props of fashionable clothing, deceitful make-up and degrading decorations, because our confidence is in Christ. We have His promise that His glory is shining through us, so that we may be a blessing to those around us. We are no longer anxious about how we look. We are now focused on Him, and intent on revealing to the world how He looks. We reflect His glory. What a grand and lofty calling God has placed on us as His precious daughters.
Instead of hours standing before our mirrors, primping and preening, we now spend those hours on our knees and in the Word, gazing into the beautiful mirror of His character. As we do this, He is lovingly writing it upon our hearts. Instead of our glory, we now seek His glory until our soul is all aglow. God makes us glow inwardly so we can shine outwardly.
So we become beautiful in God's eyes. The world will notice. It may not approve. It may even despise us. That doesn't matter. The Holy Spirit will never lead us to be unclean or unkempt. We are not to try to look strange or unattractive. Our clothing should clearly declare that we love Jesus, that we are willing to put Him first, and that self is not pampered or exalted in our lives.
Regarding the movement toward modesty, how long will it take the Holy Spirit to remove the outward trappings of the world from you? That is your decision alone. May the Lord help us to respond to His Spirit. So, how fast will the Holy Spirit be able to move you in the modesty movement? Just listen to Him. He knows what is best. Let Him set the schedule.
One thing is sure. The Father has promised to clothe you with physical clothing. He knows what you need. You don't need to become consumed with what you should wear. He will provide. He has ways and means that you know not of. He will make a way when there seems to be no way. Just be obedient to what He tells you today. By faith, trust Him. Lay aside that immodest garment, trusting that He will clothe you. It is a blessed walk of faith.
While you can encourage other like-minded sisters, for those sisters who are not yet open, please leave them alone! Don't say a word. Just be a sweet, radiant example, showing them your joy in Jesus. Let His beauty shine out, and that will speak to their hearts.
The Modesty Movement must be Spirit led. The Spirit is calling, Come, and He is preparing the Church of Christ for that day: “ And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints .” Revelation 19:8
Israel have been asleep to the pride, and fashion, and worldliness in the very midst of them. It is these things that separate God from his people, that shut the ark away from them. When the truth affects their hearts, it will cause a death to the world. They will then lay aside the outward adorning, and if they are dead they will not be moved by the laugh, jeer, and scorn of unbelievers. They will feel an anxious desire to be separate from the world, like their Master. They will not imitate its pride, fashions, or customs. The noble object will be ever before them, to glorify God, and gain the immortal inheritance. This prospect will swallow up all beside of an earthly nature. God will have a people separate and distinct from the world. And as soon as any indulge a desire to imitate the fashions of the world, just so soon God ceases to acknowledge them as his children. They show that they are strangers to grace, strangers to the meek and lowly Jesus. If they had acquainted themselves with him, they would walk worthy of him. RH, December 12, 1882